The Champions is a documentary about Michael Vick’s pit bulls that were used for dog fighting.
In 2007, Michael Vick was found to be involved in an illegal interstate dog fighting ring and served 21 months in jail. The dogs were originally held as “evidence” for the trial. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and other animal organizations, such as the Friends of Animals, took in the former fighting dogs. Of the 49 dogs that were seized from Vick’s property, only ONE dog was euthanized for being too vicious. One other dog was euthanized due to health problems.
So what happened to the other 47 dogs? The Champions follows some of the Vick dogs to see what happened to them after they were rescued. One dog, Cherry, is a prime example of how sweet pit bull dogs can be. Cherry was super shy and scared of a lot of things when he was rescued. With a lot of love and patience from the Friends of Animals, Cherry was able to trust people again and was adopted by a loving family, which includes two small children, a dog and a cat. Recently, Cherry was given his “Best Day of Ever” (find the video on YouTube). Part of his best day was being able to play with kittens. Cherry clearly is a lover, not a fighter.
The theme of this documentary is that pit bulls are just like any other dog. A lot of myths surround the pit bull breed that are simply untrue. Sadly, many pit bulls are euthanized every day due to misconceptions of this breed. There are many communities that have bans on pit bulls. Dogs in these areas would be confiscated and put down. This became a concern when 22 of the Vick dogs had to be taken cross country. Another pit bull owner ran into this situation. He lived in Miami and was transferred to Toronto, which bans pit bulls. He felt that he could not teach his children that dogs were disposable. Now his family continues to live in Miami while he is in Toronto.
The Vick dogs have left a lasting legacy. They have proven that dogs from fighting rings can become family pets, agility dogs and therapy dogs. If dogs are given food, water, shelter and the proper training, they can be loving animals. Now dogs rescued from fighting rings are no longer automatically euthanized. Rescue organizations now step in to help take care of these dogs.
Read more about the pit bulls rescued from Michael Vick’s fighting ring:
Saving Audie: a pit bull puppy gets a second chance by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent
Even though this book is in the juvenile section, there is a lot of information for adults and children. A great book to learn about Michael Vick’s dogs and more importantly, the love and compassion people have for dogs.